This week marks the annual insanity of Black Friday shopping! While there are many deals out there to be found, it is important to plan your trip to get the best deals, and more importantly to be safe! The Original 1-800 Charity Cars, a national award winning vehicle donation/distribution charity, want to provide you with following Black Friday safety tips, and resources to make your shopping experience safe, and successful!
Anytime you plan on attending the Black Friday sales, make preparations ahead of time to make sure you are successful and safe. Here is a list of the preparations to make before heading out to go hit those Black Friday Sales.
PREPARATIONS BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT TO SHOP:
- Make sure to have your cell phone fully charged, and bring your car charger with you.
- Make sure to check the weather and dress accordingly. Bring anything you need since the weather may have significant changes throughout the time frame your out. (i.e. heavier coat, lighter jacket, umbrella, etc.)
- Look through all of the ads for the sales, and make a shopping plan. Your plan should include what locations you will visit, what route you will take, what time you need to be at each location, what items you wish to purchase, and a clear budget for each place.
- Some stores will have the layout for Black Friday available online so you can actually plan your route throughout the store to get the items you want, and know exactly where those dollar DVD’s or $99 Game consoles will be!
- Make sure to have enough cash on hand to cover your purchases. If you are using Credit make sure you have your credit cards and know your limits.
- If you plan on trying to get a hot item like a low priced TV or Laptop you should call ahead, ask how many they have, and what the process is for giving them out. (i.e. will they use a ticket process, just a line up at a certain area process, do they guarantee it will be in stock for a certain time, when do they allow people to line up or get tickets etc.)
While getting good deals tends to be the primary goal for Black Friday shoppers, your safety is the most important thing you should consider. Below is a list of tips to keep you safe while getting those deals.
WHILE WAITING OUTSIDE THE STORE:
- Be aware of your surroundings, and the people around you at all times.
- If you see any confrontations, disagreements or fights, remove yourself from the area.
- Be sure that you are dressed appropriately for the weather so that the time you are waiting is not freezing if the temperatures are frigid.
WHILE HEADING INTO OR INSIDE A STORE:
- Make sure to pay attention to where you are parked and write it down if necessary.
- Upon entering a store do not make a mad dash with a huge crowd. Be cautious, courteous, enter normally, and avoid the rushing crowd.
- If any sort of uproar happens then get out of the way. No deal is worth being injured or killed for.
- Try to get your items as quickly as possible, and head directly to the checkout. This will help you avoid the long lines at the checkout that can last for an hour or more.
- Do not pull out all your money. Discreetly pull out just what you need for your purchase.
- Do not stand with your credit/debit card in view in your hand. Only take it out at the time you need to pay, and immediately put it back.
WHEN YOU LEAVE A STORE:
- Know where your car is before you exit (if you followed the tips above you should have noted where your parked already), and head straight to it!
- Have your purchases organized, keys out, and any protection aids ready. (i.e. whistles, mace, personal alarms, etc.)
- Be aware of those around you and if it appears someone is following you then do not go to your vehicle. Instead, turn around and head back to the store, towards a security officer, or even a group of people.
- Take note of any curbs or steps and walk carefully to avoid falls.
- If the store offers employees to escort you to your car then let them. If you have more purchases than you can handle on your own then ask for help to your car.
- When you are going to your vehicle observe from afar if anyone is lingering around it. Once you get to your vehicle always check the back seat before you enter it.
ONLINE SHOPPING SAFETY
- Do not use a public computer.
- Only shop at known retailers.
- If it sounds too good to be true and are an unfamiliar place to you then do not buy from them.
- When you shop online it should ONLY be on secure websites. (ie. the site url will start with https:/ that s means secure, and you will see a locked padlock in the address bar.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY TIPS:
- If you are a cash shopper then get your money before Black Friday if possible.
- Avoid ATM’s late at night, early in the morning and on Black Friday if at all possible.
- Try to do as much of your shopping online as possible.
- Do not leave your purchases in plain view inside your vehicle.
- Do not shop alone! If possible go in groups or at least take one person with you.
- Keep your money close to your body! If using a purse, make sure it is across the shoulder and keep it against your chest/abdomen. If you use a wallet do not put it in your back pocket, or coat pocket. Use your front pocket, one that zips or buttons is great, or a sling bag across your chest to avoid losing it or pick pockets getting it.
RESOURCES FOR BLACK FRIDAY TO COMPARE, PLAN, AND MAXIMIZE SAVINGS
1-800-Charity Cars hopes that whether you’re going out to shop on Thanksgiving night, in the wee early morning hours on Friday, or staying at home shopping online, you will keep the above information in mind. Follow the tips and use the resources so you can save tons of money, be safe, and have a fun filled deal finding trip! For more general shopping safety tips check out our article here.